You already know that business is an exchange of money for a product or service. In order to have a business, you need a customer. In order to gain a customer, they need to know you, like you, trust you, AND buy from you.
So why is it that some people can do it and others cannot? I have a theory around some of the things that differentiate the winners from the losers.
1) You look like a slob
If you want people to perceive you as a professional, you have to look the part. The way you show up is the first perception someone has of your business. Working from home does not mean that you should see clients in yoga pants – unless you are a yoga instructor.
Whether you like it or not, people judge you by how you look. They judge you by the care and effort you put into your appearance.
That means: have nails that are manicured, hair that is done nicely, clothes that are clean, pressed and appropriate, and not too much makeup or cologne.
When you don’t take time to take care of your appearance, you leave others with the impression that you might not be able to take care of their business needs either.
2) You are always late
Being late for an appointment shows a lack of respect for the person who is waiting to meet you or expecting your call. As a professional, you should always be early and well prepared for your meetings.
When you are late, you let your potential customer know that you are disorganized and do not care about their business. It can be the number one reason that they decide to do business with someone else instead of you.
In the rare occurrence that something happens and you are going to be late, it is critical that you reach out and let the other person know in advance so they are not waiting for you. Always have your client’s mobile number so, in case of emergency you can reach them in time.
3) You don’t respond
Your inbox is overflowing with emails that have not been responded to, and your voicemail is full. Again, you are sending a message out to people that says you are not organized enough to do business with them, and you don’t care.
You might think that waiting a week to respond is okay. You live in a time where people want instant gratification. If you can’t respond same day, you should at least respond within 24 hours.
I get that email is challenging if you receive a lot of it. I suggest you keep your inbox clean. What I mean by that is segregate your promotional and information type emails out of your regular business email inbox so you do not miss things. Set aside time daily to ensure you can respond to people.
4) You have poor communication skills
You either can’t spell, you have poor grammar, or you use profanity when you speak to people. Your communication skills as a professional matter and I am not just talking about having difficult conversations.
I am talking about your writing skills, the way you talk, and the words you use. I once had a meeting with a client and brought a junior member of my team along. The meeting went great but later in the day she was so comfortable with them that she swore.
I had a serious conversation about appropriateness after the meeting with her.
In some cases, you may develop comfortable relationships with people and there may be the odd use of colourful language. You really need to use your judgment around how you communicate and connect with your customers.
Your words impact how you make them feel.
5) You are defensive
You can’t take criticism and you perceive general feedback as criticism and, when someone tries to give it to you, you get defensive. Sometimes this can be as simple as when someone asks a question about your product or service. For some reason, you perceive that as a negative thing and you go into defensive mode instead of seeing it as an opportunity to learn from your customer.
The other part of this occurs when something goes wrong. Instead of owning what happened, you blame the client. This only serves to make them wonder why they hired you in the first place.
Be responsive and supportive – don’t be defensive.
6) Your lack of confidence makes me think you are not competent
You seem unsure of yourself when you talk about what you do and you waffle when you talk about price and the benefits of your product or service. You seem uncomfortable with selling, and lack skill when it comes to really understanding my needs.
It’s because you are fearful, possibly suffering from imposter syndrome, and that makes me concerned about doing business with you.
The first sale is to yourself. Build your confidence and competence. <— Click to Tweet
Learn the skills you need to demonstrate and articulate confidence in what you offer.
7) You do too much talking and not enough listening
Lack of confidence and nervous energy makes you talk way too much. Instead of listening and understanding what your client is saying, you go off on tangents (or rabbit holes) and talk too much about things that are not relevant to your client.
You may even have been caught in the trap of talking too much about your competitors. Or, maybe you have been talking badly about them behind their back in the hopes that it would make you look better and it only served to make your customer think you lack integrity.
Learn the art of questioning. Ask the right questions, listen, and understand your customer’s needs. When you fully understand you are better able to communicate the right message, using the right words and the right number of words to close the deal.
This might all sound negative to you and I want to assure you that it is not my intent to be a Negative Nelly. My intent is to shine the light on some bad habits that I see that are preventing you from getting what you really want – growth of your business, and increased sales and profits.
Pay attention to each of these things. Ask yourself daily have you fallen into any of these bad habits. Exceptions do not ruin your business but, if you fall into these habits on a regular basis, you could be the reason your business is not taking off.
Want help figuring out the right way to do it? The Pilot Project takes flight again in January. It can help you get and stay on course to success! Learn more here —> www.LisaLarter.com/PilotProject
5 thoughts on “Seven Reasons Why You Can’t Grow Your Business”
Lisa, these are all great points. It’s interesting how many people say they want to be successful but then they drop the ball on many of the core points that you’ve outlined. When people ask me how to attract investors, whether it’s for their real estate deal or their business, I tell them something similar: look good, speak well, know your stuff and carry yourself with confidence. People need to buy into you first before they buy whatever you’re offering.
I think your last point – too much talking, not enough listening – is one of the most important. I can’t tell you how many times I have decided not to do business with someone because they spent all their time talking at me, telling me how great their product is without first understanding which problem I want to solve. More listening for sure!
Thanks Doris, completely agree!
I see #6 way too often from many sole entrepreneurs when it comes to making the pitch to someone and immediately discounting their rate when a potential customer doesn’t immediately respond the way they were hoping for. I know it’s one that takes time to learn, as I did kind of the same thing for the first couple of years I was in business; glad I learned my lesson after that.
Thanks Mitch. I’m glad you learned it too! Self-confidence is super important in sales.
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